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Entry requirements

Please see our Entry Requirements page for general entry requirement guidance.

The Applied Psychology BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate offers you a thorough understanding in applying the principles and theories of psychology. It is equivalent to 1 A Level. To be successful in this course you should be able to work independently and be interested in people and the reasons why they behave the way they do. You should also have an interest in research. You will develop a deep understanding of human behaviour whilst applying this knowledge to relevant fields such as business and law.


Two years.

What will I study?

If you choose to study Applied Psychology you will study three mandatory units, covering the following content areas:

Year One

Applications of Psychological Approaches
You will study 4 different approaches in Psychology. You will then apply them to real life issues linked to gender, aggression and consumer behaviour. Social psychology explains how human behaviour occurs in a social context and how people, society and culture can affect behaviour. The learning approach in psychology explains how behaviour is learned from the world around us – through association, the consequent rewards and punishments or through the imitation of role models. The biological approach to psychology takes the opposite view to the learning approach and explains how internal biological processes, such as genetic inheritance, brain structure and chemistry, can affect human behaviour and how these processes can be explained by evolution. The other two approaches are the cognitive approach and the social approach.

Conducting Psychological Research
Sound scientific research principles are needed to explore theories in psychology. Results from these studies can be analysed using statistical techniques to verify their significance and enable researchers to explain or predict behaviour. You will conduct a pilot study in a chosen area, drawing on key psychological approaches. You will gather and analyse your research findings and present them to an audience.

Year Two

Health Psychology
This unit explores the motivation behind healthy and unhealthy behaviours and the factors that might persuade individuals to finally change behaviour or to follow the advice given by medical practitioners. You will explore how health psychologists can help improve behaviours using psychological theories of persuasion and learn about specific physiological and behavioural treatments, making judgments about their effectiveness.

Criminal and Forensic Psychology
Criminal and forensic psychology is a specialist branch of psychology that uses psychological theories to explain criminal behaviour, and examines the research generated by these theories. In this unit, you will explore psychological approaches to criminal behaviour and learn how offender profiles are created using different techniques. You will examine different psychological methods for modifying and punishing criminal behaviour, and investigate their effectiveness. This will include their impact on both the rate of reoffending and on the individual and society.

How will I be assessed?

The course is assessed through a combination of external and internal assessments.

Year One

Application of Psychological Approaches: External examination in May/June, 1.5 hours.
Conducting Psychological Research: Internal assessment of a pilot study.

Year Two

Health Psychology: External examination in May/June, 2 hours. Criminal and Forensic Psychology: Internal assessment.

Preliminary reading

Psychology is all around us and the research into the different areas is used to predict and influence your behaviour. Pick up a magazine and look at the adverts that are being used. How has the business used people and messages to get you to buy the product? Pick up a healthcare leaflet and look again at what has been done to get you to behave in a certain way. Are they effective at getting you to change your behaviour? Why?

Good course combinations

Applied Psychology goes well with Sociology, Biology, Law and English Language.

What could it lead to?

The qualification carries UCAS points and is recognised by higher education providers as contributing to admission requirements to many relevant applied psychology courses. 95% of universities and colleges in the UK accept BTEC students, including competitive universities from the Russell Group. When combined with other qualifications within a two-year study programme, you can progress to higher education to qualifications such as:

BSc in Forensic and Criminal Psychology
BSc in Occupational Health
BSc in Education and Child Psychology
BSc in Sport Psychology

Careers - this course is ideal if you are interested in a career as a therapist, teacher or a nurse.

Need some help?

If you have any further questions about this course, or would like us to help you with your application, please contact the Schools Liaison team on 01904 770239 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this webpage, the content is subject to change where necessary.

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